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Emboldened by the presidency of Donald Trump, and railing against the removal of memorials to the Confederacy, hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Alt-Rightniks, bloggers, podcasters, shock jocks, militia types, and KKK members are going to gather in Charlottesville, Virginia's Emancipation Park (formerly called Lee Park) for a "Unite the Right" rally, on Saturday, August 12. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the rally possibly "the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States." David Straughn of Black Lives Matter told a local TV station that "The Unite the Right rally … is just the tip of the iceberg of the white supremacy" movement.
According to Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, "Earlier this year, … the Charlottesville City Council voted to sell the statue of Robert E. Lee." White nationalist groups, including the Virginia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, challenged that decision in court, resulting in a circuit court judge issuing a six-month injunction temporarily stopping the removal.
The event is not the first of its kind. According to itsgoingdown.org, "On Saturday, May 13th, a coalition of neo-Nazi groups organized a daytime march in Charlottesville, VA, which essentially was a protest of a local cultural festival."
There are many organizations involved in organizing the event and amongst the most notable speakers listed on a promotional flyer are: Richard Spencer, Matt Heimbach, and Mike Enoch [Peinovich].
Richard Spencer's Alt-Right
Spencer, probably the most well known figure on the list, is best known for coining the term "Alt-Right." "Born in Boston to an eye doctor and a real estate businesswoman, Spencer attended both private schools and prestigious universities," itsgoingdown.org reported in a mid-May piece titled Meet the Neo-Nazis Who Organized the Klan-like Charlottesville, VA rally, "After college, Spencer drifted farther to the Right, through racist ideologies such as paleoconservatism, until finally creating a new form of white nationalist ideology, the 'Alternative Right.'
It was the election of Donald Trump election that thrust Spencer, who runs the National Policy Institute (NPI), into the national spotlight. "White people ultimately don't need other races in order to succeed," Spencer told the audience of the black-oriented program, NewsOne Now.
"Beyond NPI, Spencer also runs a distribution company for a variety of white nationalist and Alt-Right books and publications, as well as the website AltRight.com. … [which] features the writings of various white nationalist authors."
In a mid-March New York magazine piece titled Of Course White Nationalist Richard Spencer Gets Millions in Federal Subsidies for His Family's Cotton Farm in Louisiana, Jen Kirby cited a report by Reveal, a project of the Center for Investigative Journalism, that pointed out that Spencer, along with his mother and sister, are "absentee landlords on his family's 5,200-acre cotton and corn farm in a poor, rural area of Louisiana. That farm is also heavily supported by the United States government; between 2008 and 2015, the operation received $2 million in federal farm subsidies."
According to Reveal, "The Spencer family's farms are headquartered at a $3 million home in the ski town of Whitefish, Montana, where Sherry Spencer now lives. Also headquartered there: Richard Spencer's think tank, his AltRight.com website, and other white-nationalist-related enterprises he controls, including a book publisher and a web design outfit. Spencer also has lived in Whitefish in recent years—sometimes in his mother's home, and sometimes in a condominium she owns, according to documents and interviews."
"I'm not involved in any direct day-to-day running of the business," Spencer has said. "I'm going to navigate the world as it is, and I'm not going to be a pauper."
Matt Heimbach's National Front
"Matthew Heimbach grew up in the wealthy suburb of Poolesville, Maryland, son to two history teachers who now refuse to speak to him and have not even seen his young baby," itsgoingdown.org reported.
By morphing his group, the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP), with the National Socialist Movement (NSM), Heimbach created the "Nationalist Front."
"In 2016," itsgoingdown.org pointed out, "Heimbach gained some national fame for assaulting an African American protester at a Kentucky Trump rally. The young woman also claims she was called a 'nigger' and a 'cunt' by Heimbach and members of the TWP. Heimbach is now counter-suing, saying that Donald Trump pushed him to violence. Heimbach has written several essays that call for violently killing opponents of neo-Nazism and sending his enemies to camps to be 're-educated.'"
Mike Peinovich's neo-Nazi Podcast network
Itsgoingdown.org pointed out that Mike Peinovich, aka Mike Enoch, "is a leader within The Right Stuff (TRS) neo-Nazi podcast network and has produced his own podcasts with several other Alt-Right personalities. Under Peinovich's leadership, leadership, the show moved to openly use racial slurs and horrific Holocaust references, such as "Put 'em in the Oven.'"
According to Salon, Peinovich, a web developer married to a Jewish woman, runs a podcast called The Daily Shoah, "a weekly podcast with about 100,000 regular listeners, and Peinovich is considered one of the … most influential figures in the 'alt-right' movement."
"Few in the mosaic of modern-day racists compete with Enoch's hard-line anti-Semitism," the SPLC pointed out.
The Trump administration is "going to give us space to operate, and frankly, it is space to destroy," Peinovich said in a guest appearance on "Fash the Nation," the movement's most popular web radio show. According to Salon, Peinovich added, "'We'd probably be facing fucking [racketeering] charges or some shit like that,' … if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election."
"We have to use these four years to grow into something that can't be defeated," Peinovich said.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed out, the "Unite The Right" rally is "a bold move beyond the anonymity of web sites, message boards, pseudonyms and social media — a move to take the hardcore, racist, white nationalist message to the public square."